WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A lengthy healthcare meeting ended with U.S. President Barack Obama singling a close to debate and saying Democrats would proceed with their reforms.
Obama led the Blair House Project, inviting members of Congress to a daylong session to discuss healthcare reform. There was little new ground covered in the meeting as Republicans asked that Democrats' proposed plans be tossed and a new start made while Democrats -- led by Obama -- suggested the issue would soon be resolved from the blueprints on the table.
And if that meant moving without Republican congressional votes, so be it. Obama, apparently ignoring the many polls that indicate the U.S. public doesn't like the overall Democratic reform plan -- said Americans don't want lawmakers to wait. He suggested there was only one poll that matters: "That's what elections are for," he said.
So Obama laid down a soft deadline of "a month's time or a few weeks' time" for bipartisanship to hit Capitol Hill.
"And if we can't (resolve the legislation), then I think we've got to go ahead and make some decision."
That means Democrats will blend the massive House of Representatives bill (cost: $1 trillion), the lengthy Senate version (cost: $890 billion) and the White House plan announced Monday (cost: $1 trillion) and bypass possible procedural roadblocks to pass legislation solely with Democratic votes.
Republicans, who say the Democrats' plans all represent a government takeover of U.S. healthcare, are decrying the possible use of the so-called nuclear option of reconciliation, just as Democrats did when Republicans used the scheme to their advantage.
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